Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) Stock Rating Upgraded by SunTrust Banks

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) was upgraded by investment analysts at SunTrust Banks from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a note issued to investors on Tuesday.

A number of other research analysts also recently issued reports on MRK. BMO Capital Markets set a $70.00 price target on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, October 11th. Jefferies Group reaffirmed a “sell” rating and issued a $55.00 target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. in a report on Friday, October 20th. Leerink Swann cut their target price on shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from $70.00 to $69.00 and set a “market perform” rating on the stock in a report on Monday, October 30th. ValuEngine raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 10th. Finally, Citigroup raised shares of Merck & Co., Inc. to a “buy” rating in a research note on Monday, October 30th. Two investment analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $66.06.

Shares of Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK) traded up $1.06 during midday trading on Tuesday, hitting $58.66. 12,343,000 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 10,604,122. The firm has a market capitalization of $171,170.00, a PE ratio of 56.95, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.93 and a beta of 0.76. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.57, a current ratio of 1.43 and a quick ratio of 1.16. Merck & Co., Inc. has a 1-year low of $53.63 and a 1-year high of $66.80.

Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) last released its quarterly earnings data on Friday, October 27th. The company reported $1.11 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.08. Merck & Co., Inc. had a net margin of 11.60% and a return on equity of 27.08%. The firm had revenue of $10.33 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $10.54 billion. During the same period last year, the business earned $1.07 earnings per share. Merck & Co., Inc.’s revenue was down 2.0% compared to the same quarter last year. equities research analysts expect that Merck & Co., Inc. will post 3.95 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

Merck & Co., Inc. announced that its Board of Directors has approved a share buyback program on Tuesday, November 28th that allows the company to buyback $10.00 billion in shares. This buyback authorization allows the company to purchase shares of its stock through open market purchases. Stock buyback programs are often a sign that the company’s management believes its stock is undervalued.

In other news, Director Thomas H. Glocer sold 5,000 shares of Merck & Co., Inc. stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 8th. The stock was sold at an average price of $56.20, for a total transaction of $281,000.00. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. 0.25% of the stock is owned by insiders.

A number of hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of MRK. Boston Advisors LLC boosted its stake in Merck & Co., Inc. by 512.1% in the second quarter. Boston Advisors LLC now owns 374,199 shares of the company’s stock worth $21,558,000 after purchasing an additional 313,068 shares in the last quarter. KBC Group NV increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 32.7% in the third quarter. KBC Group NV now owns 1,398,162 shares of the company’s stock valued at $87,259,000 after purchasing an additional 344,592 shares during the last quarter. GW&K Investment Management LLC increased its holdings in Merck & Co., Inc. by 6.6% in the third quarter. GW&K Investment Management LLC now owns 369,150 shares of the company’s stock valued at $23,039,000 after purchasing an additional 22,736 shares during the last quarter. Seminole Management Co. Inc. bought a new stake in Merck & Co., Inc. in the second quarter valued at about $19,783,000. Finally, Badgley Phelps & Bell Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Merck & Co., Inc. by 14.4% in the second quarter. Badgley Phelps & Bell Inc. now owns 5,225 shares of the company’s stock worth $301,000 after acquiring an additional 657 shares in the last quarter. 73.68% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

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Merck & Co., Inc. Company Profile

Merck & Co, Inc is a global healthcare company. The Company offers health solutions through its prescription medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies and animal health products. It operates through four segments: Pharmaceutical, Animal Health, Healthcare Services and Alliances. The Company’s Pharmaceutical segment includes human health pharmaceutical and vaccine products marketed either directly by the Company or through joint ventures.

Analyst Recommendations for Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)

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